JAMES HENRY SNOWDEN, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, of
Washington, was born in Hookstown, Beaver Co., Penn., October 18, 1852.
He is a son of William and Violetta (Thayer) Snowden, both natives of
Hancock county, W. Va., whence they removed to Hookstown, Penn., and
from there, in 1865, to Wellsville, Ohio, where they still reside. Mr.
Snowden being engaged in the wall paper business.
The subject of this memoir received his
primary education in the country school of his native place, and in the
Wellsville High School. He early developed remarkable mechanical gifts,
and while a lad constructed a small working steam engine, which he still
keeps with pride. In his youth he worked in his father's cabinet-making
shop and virtually acquired this trade. His deeper inclination, however,
led him to seek a higher education. After teaching a year in the
Wellsville common school, and preparing himself in Greek, he entered
Washington and Jefferson College in the fall of 1872. Here he took high
rank as a student, in his senior year won the debate on the annual
contest, and graduated with the first honor of his class in 1875. In the
fall of the same year he entered the Western Theological Seminary at
Allegheny, Penn., where he maintained his high scholarship, receiving
two prizes of $100 each for superior proficiency in Hebrew, and where he
graduated in 1878.
Mr. Snowden was licensed to preach by the
Presbytery of Steubenville, April 24, 1877. Having received a call from
the church of Huron, Ohio, he was ordained and installed pastor by the
Presbytery of Huron on May 6, 1879. In this charge he remained four
years, when he accepted a call from the Presbyterian Church of Sharon,
Penn. After a successful pastorate of three years in this field, he
accepted a call, in 1886, from the Second Presbyterian Church, of
Washington, his present charge. His ministry in this important church
has been remarkably blessed. During the last four years an average of
nearly one hundred accessions a year have been added to its membership,
which has grown during the present pastorate from 375 to 650 members,
crowding the auditorium of the new church to its utmost capacity. This
is now the largest church of any denomination in Washington county.
On August 1, 1878, Mr. Snowden was united
in marriage with Miss Mary A. Ross, daughter of William and Abigail
Ross, of Wellsville, Ohio. Three children have come to bless their home:
Grace, born in Huron, Ohio, May 23, 1879; Roy Ross, born in Sharon,
Penn., April 22, 1885; and Harold Winters, born in Washington, Penn.,
January 2, 1889.
Mr. Snowden has a fine library, and has
read widely in modern science and English literature. His sermons are
clear and logical, popular and practical, containing many short
sentences and striking statements of truth, and abounding in
illustrations drawn from literature and life.
Biographical Record of Washington County, PA, page 133